Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Better than a chill pill

Thirteen days until Christmas! I ordered all the presents in early November and stored them in the pantry. I updated the holiday spreadsheet. I drafted a holiday letter. I drew up a holiday calendar with mailings of gifts, mailings of cards, making of rum balls, a trip to visit friends in the country and pick up a fresh-cut tree, tree decorating, and a dinner of Scandinavian cuisine with friends.

Thus far I have placed five tiny reindeer on the mantelpiece. And there are just 13 days to make the rest of it happen. Eeek.

At this point, there's only one thing that can save me: Eggnog, and lots of it.

Here's my father's Virginia eggnog recipe, scaled down for a very small batch. He used to make the version for 24 servings; when I lived in Italy, I borrowed the kitchen of the local gelateria and whipped up 60 servings for the village Christmas party.

Keep in mind that this is far less sweet than commercial eggnog or eggnog with brandy, and the proportion of liquor is unusually high.

Virginia Eggnog (a mere 6 servings)

3 eggs (free range, since you're dealing with raw eggs here)
1/4 C sugar
1 C whole milk
1/2 C blended whiskey
1/4 C rum (preferably light rum, but dark will do)
1/2 pint (1 C) heavy cream, beaten
nutmeg (grated for garnish)
  1. Separate eggs.
  2. In large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater.
  3. In main pan, mix sugar into yolks with electric beater; beat thoroughly until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add milk and liquors to yolk mixture.
  5. Fold in beaten egg whites, very carefully.
  6. Beat cream into stiff peaks and fold in to main mixture.
  7. Chill eggnog well (at least six hours); you will need to re-fold the separated cream before serving.
  8. Garnish cups of eggnog with fresh-grated nutmeg.

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